Amazon Web Services (AWS) today showed off Amazon Snowball, a 45-pound piece of hardware for storing 50TB of data that can be shipped to AWS to be stored in the cloud.

This is a pretty wild thing for AWS to launch, because AWS provides cloud infrastructure and services, not bespoke hardware. It’s what’s distinguished AWS from other enterprise software vendors, including IBM. But so be it — Snowball is actually a pretty interesting idea when you realize AWS just wants to get customer data into the cloud as fast as possible.

Multiple Snowballs can be connected together. And they’re quite durable, too, so companies won’t need to worry about what happens when they drop Snowballs into the mail.

An Amazon Snowball.

Above: An Amazon Snowball.

Image Credit: Amazon Web Services

Of course, Amazon still lets companies ship good old hard drives to AWS to get data stored there.

A blog post on Snowball is here.

Find all our coverage of AWS re:Invent here.

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